Reports

Illinois General Fund Spending in FY2016: How Elected Officials Cut Billions in Core Service Expenditures While Worsening the Deficit—All Without Casting a Vote

Release: October 27, 2016

In FY2016, the failure to pass a comprehensive General Fund budget resulted in larger deficits as well as deep cuts to core services like Public Safety—even without anyone having to cast a vote.

The Value Propositions Associated with Funding Research-Based K-12 Education Practices

Release: September 20, 2016

Given what the evidence says about the role education plays in building both an individual’s and a state’s economic competitiveness, the questions for policymakers become: Can the value of adequately investing in K-12 education be quantified? Is it possible to identify how making appropriate investments in specific, evidenced based educational practices today, can generate quantifiable economic and other benefits to society tomorrow? The answers, as it turns out, are yes and yes.

Why Illinois Should Adopt an Evidence-Based Education Funding Model

Release: July 13, 2016

To address both its inadequate and inequitable approach to school funding, Illinois should move to a funding system based on the Evidenced Based Model. Designed to identify the level of funding needed to deliver an adequate education to every student in a state and sensitive to each child’s needs, the Evidenced Based Model ensures that the distribution of education funding is equitable, and accounts for the cost of overcoming “at risk” factors.

The Evidenced Based Model determines per-pupil expenditures by identifying how much research-based “best practices” cost, given a state’s overall and regional labor market and other cost factors. Finally, the Evidenced Based Model identifies and costs-out those educational practices which the research shows to boost student achievement.

Illinois on Autopilot, the Reality of FY2016

Release: February 16, 2016

In both magnitude and meaning, state elected officials have no greater obligation than passing a General Fund budget into law. Consider magnitude first. Last fiscal year the General Fund budget provided for the expenditure of $35 billion. No question, that constitutes a sizeable expenditure of taxpayer money. It is also meaningful. While nearly $11 billion was targeted for Hard Costs like debt service and other legally mandated payments, over $24 billion was invested in current services across communities statewide. In fact, over 90 percent of FY2015 General Fund expenditures on services covered education (35 percent), healthcare (30 percent), human services (21 percent), and public safety (7 percent). To be clear, it is those services which provide for the basic health and well-being of the citizenry, and go to the very heart of why we elect a Governor and General Assembly in the first place.

By failing to pass a General Fund budget for FY2016, elected officials are basically punting the following difficult, but fundamental, responsibilities to: 

  • Make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources among the aforesaid four service priorities;
  • Identify which of, and by how much, those services will be cut, despite their high priority, if the state’s current woeful fiscal condition is not addressed; or
  • Raise the tax revenue needed to fund those core services to the amounts needed to satisfy demographically driven demand.

 

Public Pensions: Frequently Asked Questions

Release: January 21, 2016

Ever want to know what the average pension is for a state employee? What’s a funding ratio, and what are the funding ratios for the different pension funds? How much did benefit increases cost the pension systems? How much did investment losses contribute to pension underfunding? What’s the biggest factor for underfunded public pensions in Illinois?

We’ve got answers to those questions and many more in this convenient document, "Public Pensions: Frequently Asked Questions."

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